Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SA 2.0 Dev Blog #12: Clarifying Powers, one

I've been crazy busy the past couple weeks and I think I'm behind on getting promised posts out. I'm going to do this one in a big fun way. I'm going to just list some of the rewrites we've done to powers and talk about why we went in that direction. Some of these powers had an unintended side effect use that went beyond their intended use that wasn't intentional. Not all the wording has been finally polished but it should clarify how the power can be used. Take a look:


Cost: 1 Energy

Call: “Beast Mind” and “predator” or “prey”
The target must roleplay as an animal that is either a predator or prey based on what signature call was used. While under the effect of this mental, the target may not use language, whether verbal, written, or telepathic.

--Using Beast Mind as an in combat/incapacitating mental was never the intended use. While making someone flop like a fish was funny, it doesn't really fit the theme of the game. Specifying more generally to give a target a bestial mind is more the intended effect.

Cloak (Self)

Cost: 1 energy

Call: “Cloak”
You may spread your hand out in front of your face to indicate that you are no longer visible. You may not use this power within 10 seconds of having made an attack. This power will end if you speak, interact with any object or person, make an attack or lower your hand from covering your face.

-- Cloak has basically become a power that can kill anyone without cloak sight. A cool down timer would decrease its effectiveness for disappearing style combat but retain its escape and sneak up ambush features. Incidentally, this also gave a slight nerf to cloak sight as someone trying to use cloak to get in free hits would require significantly more time kill you making cloak sight valuable but not a must have survival power.

Cloak Gathering (Touch)

Cost: 1 energy

Call: “Cloak Gathering”

While using the Cloak power the caster may hide a target person or item by touching them. The target becomes Cloaked as per the Cloak power. This power ends immediately if the caster and target are no longer touching or if the caster is no longer cloaked.

-- Rolling Cloak item and cloak gathering into a single skill made it more suitable for a level 3 power. It also opened up a slot at level 2 in obfuscate which we really really wanted to fit some other canon powers in there.


Cost: 4 energy

Call: “Conditioning <Mental Power Call>”
Immediately after having a conversation with a target for at least 60 seconds you may add the “Conditioning” meta call onto any mental attack that does not use the “Mass” meta call. Powers with the conditioning meta call can’t be resisted or broken with willpower.

-- The 1 hour nature of conditioning never really fit it into the level 3 slot. It was a thing that could be used occasionally but the nature of most powers is that they last about 1-3 minutes to get their full effect. It also led to the possibility of some crappy things you have to do for an hour. We wanted to make it the top of dominate. Something that was very vampire and very dominate. Now things like "don't talk to vampires or bad things may happen" has some real backing.


Cost: 1 energy

Call: “Disquiet”
This power will immediately end frenzy in the target, this is an exception to frenzy’s regular immunity to Mental Attacks. Additionally, a target will not be able to frenzy for the duration of this power.

-- The calming influence of Disquiet never really had support from the rules. The powers from canon that disquiet come from tend to force someone out of a frenzy and keep them there. Making it a mental effect that not only ends frenzy but prevents it from happening can make it useful for the calming an friend that is teetering on the brink supporting the RP that some people are already doing.


Cost: 1 Energy

Call: “Fabricate Armor”
The caster spends one minute roleplaying building invisible armor on the target. The target then receives 4 additional armor points that do not require a phys-rep. These armor points are the first to be used when the target is struck for damage. A character may only have one fabricated suit of armor at any time. If the power is used again when the armor has taken damage but has not been destroyed it will only refill to a maximum of 4 armor.

-- I'm not aware of anyone who liked the tag part of Fabricate Armor. Most people who used it regularly kept a card in their pocket rather than visible so item sense never really worked on  it anyway. Also the math on it was always wacky. It cost a lot of energy to build up and that would never work under the new energy system. Taking it down from 6 to 4 is balanced by the cost at a single energy. This makes it equivalent to a preemptive healing touch.


  1. I like all of those adjustments.

    And the Disquiet thing - thanks for patching that hole. It has happened to me, where someone was intent on frenzying despite repeatedly being disquieted.
    Is Disquiet no longer having any effect on Wraith?

  2. I'd post my comments on the SA boards like I normally do, but you haven't posted there yet so I'll comment here instead... :)

    1 - I like the new Beast Mind. The current version always felt broken. It's one of those powers that is either the best combat mental in the game or the most useless mental of all. Everyone interprets its function differently. Clarifying is needed. The clarification you guys chose is interesting, but workable.

    2 - The new cloak is interesting. The "can't have made an attack" for 10 seconds is a workable limitation, but an odd one, since it doesn't come up connected to any other power. I assume what counts as an attack is defined elsewhere in the rules. Overall this change is worthwile, if for no other reason than that it makes the whole cloak/cloak sight thing less of a huge *thing* at game.

    3 - The cloak gathering change is pretty sweet. I approve.

    4 - I'm a bit leery about this power. Unresistable mentals are something to be pretty afraid of, since they can make you do some pretty awful stuff ("Go kill your closest friend"). Furthermore, I'm concerned with the possibility of the power discouraging RP. Telling people that any time they have a 60 second conversation with someone might turn into a really terrible mental used on them could turn into people avoiding lengthy conversations to avoid the risk of this power.

    4 - The disquiet change is just good, I approve.

    5 - The Fabricate Armor change is also just good. I approve.

    Overall, I really like the clarification. My biggest complaint of all is that we only got 5 powers. What about the rest? I'm impaaaaaaaatient. :D

  3. Conor - Disquiet still does end catharsis. We added this into the Wraith rules but it should probably go here as well.

    Josh - First off the 10 second cooldown will actually be making a notable showing in a number of powers. I could tell you what they all are, but I'm not going to.

    I'd note that Conditioning is currently a dominate power, and it might be hiding somewhere in a specific tainted tree for wraiths or something like that. While I agree that it could do some serious damage I'm ok with the idea that talking to a vampire for more than 60 seconds could be a bad idea. Also note that there won't be instaglib mentals like we have today.

  4. I like the majority of these changes. This seems like a good way to modify Cloak so it's not such a trump to everything without cloak sight. I have a few questions and comments though.

    Given that disquiet is a mental effect, can it still be resisted using willpower? It obviously states that it is an exception to frenzy's normal immunity, but doesn't mention it is unresistable.

    Conditioning is definitely scary in this revision. Though it also carries a substantial energy cost. It definitely gives older vampires an intimidating weapon in their arsenal, which might be warranted. As Josh mentioned, I also think this may reduce the amount of roll-play vampire characters get though.

    Have you considered making a conditioned mental take 5 points of willpower to resist instead (an extra willpower for each point of conditioning)? That would still make it a hay-maker of a mental and basically unresistable except by old and very experienced characters.